ScheduleMemphis

If you have ever moved from your home town to a new place you probably know that, for a while, everything looks different. The street signs, the roads, the people. It is an opportunity to meet new people and learn new things, but where do you start? How do you find out what is happening in town?

A few months ago while surfing through Facebook I read a post by a native Memphian complaining that he has to attend 4 launches tomorrow and he wished that all these organizations would coordinate their activities and avoid scheduling conflicts.

I did not know about any of these launches and they all sounded very interesting. I recently moved to Memphis, TN. For me, it is not only that the signs look different; they are in a different language. I was very active back in Israel and after I moved to Memphis I had no idea where to start.

So what could be done to make all the events, meetings, workshops, conferences, and shows in Memphis more accessible to everyone and help the organizers avoid scheduling multiple events during the same times?

To address these issues a solution should:

  1. encourage collaboration and sharing
  2. be accessible from anywhere at anytime
  3. be quick, we need to be up and running in a very short time
  4. and most importantly, be easy to use for both the organizations and attendees

Being in the “cloud business” I did not have to think twice. Cloud technology is revolutionizing the world because it is open and flexible. In my eyes, this is exactly where technology should serve the community and support social change.

ScheduleMemphis

Therefore, in an effort to serve and support the community, I chose to use the Google platform and created www.ScheduleMemphis.com, the first community-wide calendar with all events in town.  The calendar is a one-stop-shop for community organizers who are trying to avoid scheduling conflicts and are having trouble reaching out to the greater community. Additionally, individuals like me can use the website to be more informed.

How did I do this?

Well…The website was built on Google Sites which enabled me to deliver the platform in less than a week. I use Google Forms to collect nominations for new organizations –non-profit organizations nominate themselves to use ScehduleMemphis. Then, I create a unique Google calendar for each organization where they can simply create and update their events. All calendars are shared on the website.  It was simple to create and is easy to update.

The website already has 10 organization’s calendars and I have 20 more in the funnel. I found that it is also democratizing the organizations’ outreach efforts. It does not matter if you are a multi-million dollar organization or a one man (or a woman) show, you receive the same access and use the same platform, for free. (I am not charging the organizations).

Visit www.schedulememphis.com and let me know what you think.

Advertisements

Excel is not a database

Before I founded Cloud for Good I worked for a small nonprofit organization that loved to collect information. When I joined the organization, as a director of resource development, I inherited the organization’s most kept treasure. An Excel spreadsheet with all the donors and foundations we contacted in the past six or seven years, their social interests, who contacted them, when, how much money we asked, how much we received etc… This was (by far!) the largest spreadsheet I have ever seen in my life.

Overall, it seems like spreadsheets can be ideal for manage the organization’s knowledge. The Microsoft Office package is installed on most computers. Additionally, it is a very simple to use tool that we are all familiar with – we can easily create new columns and save. However, do not be tempted.  Excel is not a tool to manage and cultivate relationships!

 Excel is great with numbers but it is very limited. As a resource developer I could not efficiently track year to year donations or identify that one of our graduates could have been a potential donor. It was a great tool to analyze quantitative information, but it did not enable me to manage relationships between the information I tracked – it is “flat”.

  • Yes, you can add more columns to manage the information; however, how many columns will you need to track all the phone calls, emails, and meetings with your donor, volunteer, or student? Not to mention tracking all their donations, preferred days and time to volunteer, and program attendance. This is important information – if you wish to form a relationship with the constituent (or the foundation).
  • When your organization collects all the information (just like in my previous organization) the spreadsheet could include thousands of values and become very difficult to manage.
  • Your spreadsheet will not support your business process nor will it include workflows and automatic reminders. For example: Excel will not remind you to send a thank you letter every time you receive a donation.
  • Reporting in Excel can be very challenging. How would you know who gave last year but not this year and attended one of your programs’ graduation ceremonies?
  • And what about security? Everyone who has access to the spreadsheet can make changes and delete anything. You cannot determine who can see all of the information and who can edit specific columns.

 

Your database is one of the most valuable assets for your organization.  A good database is necessary to help you grow and provide better services to the community. It should support the organization’s mission and should be adopted by your entire organization and not only one team. It should be easy to use (you don’t want a system that only one person within your organization can use), flexible (it should evolve with your strategy) and it should support the type of work you do.

Dreamforce
It is the 8th annual salesforce.com user and developer conference! Dreamforce, a four-day conference, is the perfect place to take advantage of hands-on training, learn best practices of successful users, and connect with peers and salesforce.com experts.
Here are just a few things you will find at Dreamforce:
  • 325+ breakout sessions
  • A dedicated nonprofit/education session track
  • Cloud Expo featuring 250+ partner solutions
  • Hands-on training, interactive demos, and more
  • Opportunities to network with other nonprofit/educator attendees
Registration opens today and as a nonprofit client you should have received an email with a registration code. As I mentioned in a previous post, the Salesforce Foundation is offering a heavily subsidized nonprofit/educator rate of $99 USD to the first 400 nonprofit and educator registrants (versus the standard registration rate of $999). Once the $99 rate has sold out, the rate will increase to $199. This special rate is for the sole use of nonprofit and educational institutions.
Salesforce Foundation
To register at the special rate, visit the Dreamforce home page and enter your registration code. Be sure to register soon to ensure your spot at the cloud computing event of the year.

I will be there!

This is one of Gmails’ most widely requested features and I am so happy that this day is here and Google is finally releasing a rich text support for Gmail’s signature.

Next time you log into Gmail go to the Settings and customize your signature in the signature editor section. You can add links, images, and create stylish formatting.

Gmail rich text editor

Click on the image to enlarge

Additionally, as of today, Gmail supports a unique signature for each email address associated with your account.

unique signature for each email address

Click on the image to enlarge

Don’t forget to add you social networks links!

A new version of the Salesforce Non-Profit Starter Pack Affiliation object has been released with the ability to turn off the automatic creation of Affiliations.

A new tab was added that enables control of the Affiliations so that they are not created automatically. When you upgrade your package, the behavior will not change, unless you turn it off.

Install link: http://foundation.force.com/packages/affiliations

Documentation: http://wiki.developerforce.com/index.php/Nonprofit_Starter_Pack_Affiliations

Release Notes: http://wiki.developerforce.com/index.php/Nonprofit_Starter_Pack_Affiliations_Release_Notes

Affiliations Settings Tab

iphone-june

This month’s round-up includes tips for improving your organization’s Facebook page, measuring your social networks effectiveness, an introduction to Salesfroce Chatter, and a few good tips for writing an email. I am also including good tools from Google that may help you consider moving to the “cloud”. And there is a fun surprise at the end 🙂

  1. Everybody is on Facebook (did you Join Cloud for Good on Facebook?), but how do you create a Facebook presence? Debra Askanase, Community Organizer 2.0, has five good tips. Her bottom line is: get creative, collaborate, and be aggressive.
  2. However, attracting new fans is not enough. What Does Your Facebook Funnel Look Like? Here are a few good ways to measure the effectiveness of your online communications?
  3. Salesforce.com’s Chatter is here and everybody is talking (and writing) about it. It is definitely number 1 in my Top 5 Salesforce.com Summer ’10 Release Features.
  4. Here is a post that I would really like to forward to a few colleagues (and family members), it’s called “I don’t have time to read your email”. We all know that this is a very painful issue! She has a few good tips to help improve your organization’s newsletter.
  5. Google released many new features this month, however, my favorite one is the ability to try Google Docs without a Google Apps account. They made my life easier! Explaining Google Docs can be a challenging task: they have great video tutorials but people need to “play” with it in order to really understand “real time collaboration” and “the cloud”. Google launched a new site that allows users to try full-fledged versions of its word processor, spreadsheet, and drawing tool without a Google account.
  6. Still not sure why you should move to the cloud? Google created the Go Google cloud calculator that lets you explore your potential savings in an easy-to-understand way. I love it!
  7. With your extra time you can play some vintage video games online, like Supper Mario and the King’s Quest.

Salesforce Summer 10 Logo

Salesforce Summer ’10 release is here and is even better than before. Here are my top 5 favorite features from the new release.

1. Chatter

What is Chatter? Chatter is a collaboration application that can help you join forces with your co-workers, the applications in with which you work, and the content on which you work, in real-time. For example, your development team can use chatter to share updates and exchange information directly on the Donations records – no more endless email exchange (did you send the thank you letter? Did we receive the donation? Etc…)

To enable Chatter:

Setup | Customize | Chatter | Settings

Note:

  • To turn on Chatter, the new user interface is required.
  • All users have Chatter profiles with a personal photo, contact information, and professional experience.
  • The People Tab provides a list of all users.
  • Feeds provide real-time information (just like Facebook…i.e when a person changes a status on Facebook, you get notified. For Chatter, when collaborating on a document and your coworkers complete a thank you email, you get notified with a status update immediately. )

2. Cloud Scheduler

Wow! This will make my life easier! The Cloud Scheduler allows users to propose multiple meeting times – this should reduce all the back and forth communication when scheduling a multi-attendance meeting. You can let Salesforce propose meeting times, based on the Salesforce users’ calendar (it should be up-to-date!), or select your own meeting times.

To enable the Cloud Scheduler:

  1. Setup | Customize | Activities | Activity Settings  and click on Show Requested Meetings in Calendar Section.
  2. Add the new Meeting Request button to the page layouts for Contacts and Leads.

d

3. Campaigns

More control over the Campaign Members object. For example, with cross-object formula fields it is now possible to display information from Leads, Contacts or Organizations on the Campaign Members object.

4. Answers Available in Force.com Sites!

Force.com Sites allows people create public websites and applications that are directly integrated with your Salesforce database. We have already delivered several Site based solutions for nonprofits, such as a fully featured university admission process (we also used Salesforce Customer Portal) and program enrollment forms.

Now, it is possible to expose the Answers community on Sites as well! The new release even enables the moderator to escalate a question into a case or promote a reply to an article. Salesforce has been using Answers for a while now. Check it out!

5. Last but not least, Drag-and-Drop Dashboards

Dashboards are great, but they can take time to create. With the new release most dashboard customizations happen on a single screen, therefore, it makes it easier for administrators to edit dashboards and minimize the time that it takes to create a new dashboards. The builder layout is a completely new way of creating dashboards and was very much-needed.

Note: Your profile should include “Drag-and-Drop Dashboard Builder”

Release Resources:

Summer ‘10 Release Preview
Summer ‘10 Release Webinar
Summer ’10 Release Notes
Developer Preview
Spring ’10 Release
Summer ’10 Release Training
Information about the release dates